Monday, October 4, 2010

Drug Awareness

Drug Awareness
by J.S. Lucas Fleming

     From 2005 to 2006 exactly 772 people died of drug overdoses from prescriptions given to them from their doctors. Out of the 772 people who died from overdoses 645 of those deaths were accidental. In 2009, 1,185 state deaths were caused by Oxycodone. Pasco County & Pinellas County hold the highest numbers for most deaths caused by Oxycodone, Methadone, & Hydrocodone. One may think that all of these deaths were the results of their drug addicted life style, when in-fact a good many of these people were respected lawyers, doctors, business men & women, soccer moms, and church pastors. Is this the type of world we want to bring our kids into? Painkillers have a good purpose, only a select number of people are able to withstand chronic pain.

    However, would you take a drug that could kill you instantly just to get rid of the pain? Do you read the small print about the side effects? Maybe you are aware that drugs are dangerous and you take the precautions. Most drug overdoses are caused by children taking prescription that was not prescribed to them, but to their parents. Parents who have to take prescription drugs, do you check your prescription when you get home after work? Maybe you should as teens use prescription drugs to get high.

    Children and teenagers are not aware that 2 or 4 pills are too much to take at once considering the type of prescriptions. Parents where do you keep your prescriptions? On the kitchen counter, on the bathroom counter where anyone has access to them? Teenage drug usage is growing rapidly now more than ever, because they see prescriptions as a way to safely get high.  Statistics show people in their 40’s are more likely to die from prescription drugs. People in their 20’s to 30’s come in at a close second, followed by the teen usage. (St. Petersburg Times).  

    Thanks to Detectives in Hernando County launching the "Operation Oxy-Blues" in February of this year, they seized 145 fake prescriptions, 97 blank prescription forms, 2,108 pills and more than $12,000.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pain Clinic Epidemic

The Pain Clinic Epidemic
by J.S. Lucas Fleming

     Pain clinics propose to offer medical assistance in relieving chronic pain. Given the fact that many people live with constant pain, this sounds like a valuable service.

Why is State Attorney, Bernie McCabe, for Pinellas and Pasco Counties calling for tighter regulations on these kinds of clinics? Mr. McCabe stated, “We believe the physicians who prescribe these medications play a role in the prescription drug abuse and overdose epidemic that faces our community today.” According to Creative Loafing: News and Politics, Mr. McCabe went on to say that ads for pain clinics seem to be an easy access for pain narcotics and other drugs used to overdose. Getting opiates and other strong pain medications such as Vicodin, Oxycodone is easy if you go to a pain clinic.

Allegedly, all a person has to do is make an appointment and complain of some type of pain and pain medications are automatically prescribed to the patient. (Creative Loafing). City Council located in Satellite Beach, Florida is trying to pass an ordinance that pain clinics have to provide police with daily reports of the prescriptions going out, the amount allowed to each patient, and a list of the states residency patients being treated. The clinics who fail to comply with these demands could lose their operating licenses.

Even though receiving pain medication from a doctor prescription is not illegal, the police want to make sure that patients are not taking advantage of the ease of going to these pain clinics. Police want the clinics to provide them with the names of patients in case some of them are recognized to be known drug addicts and overdose patients. (Florida Criminal Attorney Blog). Governor Charlie Christ signed the Senate bill 2272 Relating to Controlled Substances on June 4, 2010. This new law shall take effect October 1st, 2010. A copy of the entire content of this new law can be found by visiting  Ch. 2010-211.

Under this new law clinics must follow these rules:

1. Annual Inspections: Clinics must register, be inspected annually, and name a doctor with a clean record as director.
2. Strong Penalties: The state will be able to pull a clinic's registration and close it immediately for violations, including physician disciplines.
3. Physician Exams: Unlike today, clinic doctors must examine a patient before prescribing pills.
4. Only three-day supply of drugs: Clinics can sell a cash-&-carry patient only three days worth of pills at a time.
5. Flagrant Advertising Banned: Clinics are banned from advertising pain drug sales and from using the names of drugs.

According to Florida Oxycotine Detox, Florida Governor Charlie Christ signed new legislation last week that gives regulators some legal tools to crack down on Florida’s rogue pain clinics.” The government is hoping that this new law will reduce the amount of opiates that reach the streets and make more people go to detox centers.